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Montana Governor's Nonbinary Son Lobbies Against Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills

Montana Governor's Nonbinary Son Lobbies Against Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte

“I have a voice and I can be heard,” says David Gianforte, son of Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte.

David Gianforte, the 32-year-old son of Republican Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, has come out as nonbinary and is lobbying his father to veto anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.

Montana has seen a rash of such legislation this year, including a bill to ban gender-affirming health care for transgender minors, one to define sex according to a person’s reproductive capability, and one restricting drag performances. They are in various stages of the process but have yet to become law.

David Gianforte recently spoke with the Montana Free Press, marking the first time he’s talked publicly about his gender identity. Daivd uses he/they pronouns. He had come out as gay to his family in 2021.

In March, he decided to talk to his father about the pending bills. He set up a formal meeting, and David read a statement that he also provided to the Free Press: “Hey Dad. Thanks for setting aside time to meet with me, it means a lot to me. There are a lot of important issues passing through the legislature right now. For my own sake I’ve chosen to focus primarily on transgender rights, as that would significantly directly affect a number of my friends … I would like to make the argument that these bills are immoral, unjust, and frankly a violation of human rights.”

“I do have a family relationship with my father that I’m trying to preserve,” David, the second of four Gianforte children, told the Free Press. “I felt that the best way to go about this would be to reach out to him in a more formal manner. And he was very willing to meet with me.”

The Gianforte family

The Gianforte familyThe Gianforte family

His father was attentive and thoughtful, David said, but continues to support the bills. Senate Bill 99, the ban on gender-affirming care, has been approved by both legislative chambers with some minor amendments and just awaits the governor’s signature. Gov. Gianforte put out a letter to lawmakers explaining the amendments, a missive in which he referred to the term “gender-affirming care” as “Orwellian Newspeak.”

“It’s bizarre to me to read the press release that my father put out,” David said. “He talks about compassion toward children, the youth of Montana, while simultaneously taking away health care from the youth in Montana. It’s basically a contradiction in my mind.”

David has also expressed support for state Rep. Zooey Zephyr, a trans woman who had sharply criticized the proposed ban and has now been barred from speaking on the House floor for the remainder of the session.

“I stand in support of @ZoAndBehold and the entire LGBTQ+ community of Montana, which includes myself and many of my friends,” David wrote on Twitter. “I have worked to oppose bills in the current MT Legislative session including SB 99 and SB 458.” Senate Bill 458 is the measure to define sex.

David said he doesn’t think he’ll affect the fate of the bills, but he’s glad he’s spoken out.

“I feel like I have a voice and I can be heard,” he said. “And I feel, not only in communicating with my father, that’s not necessarily the main point, but also just showing support for the transgender community in Montana. I think that could be meaningful, especially at this time.”

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